Great Plains Daily Devotional for 11/21/2021

Today please be in prayer for

Holdrege First UMC
Gateway District
Kearney Faith UMC
Gateway District
Kearney First UMC
Gateway District
Kearney First UMC
Gateway District

Today's Lectionary Text

John 6:5-15

Jesus looked up and saw the large crowd coming toward him. He asked Philip, “Where will we buy food to feed these people?” Jesus said this to test him, for he already knew what he was going to do. Philip replied, “More than a half year’s salary worth of food wouldn’t be enough for each person to have even a little bit.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, “A youth here has five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that for a crowd like this?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass there. They sat down, about five thousand of them. Then Jesus took the bread. When he had given thanks, he distributed it to those who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish, each getting as much as they wanted. When they had plenty to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the leftover pieces, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves that had been left over by those who had eaten.
When the people saw that he had done a miraculous sign, they said, “This is truly the prophet who is coming into the world.” Jesus understood that they were about to come and force him to be their king, so he took refuge again, alone on a mountain.

Today's Devotional

I think that maybe this Sunday is the one that troubles me most in the whole yearly lectionary. OK, Trinity Sunday leaves me confused and inarticulate - the Reign of Christ troubles me. Not the idea that somehow the Cosmic Christ has sway over my reality, it’s the king thing.

I’m not sure what our religious royal language means in American culture. I remember from grade school that we Americans are proud that we kicked the king of England out of our colonies and that we are a democracy that don’t need no stinking king.  So I have deep questions why we insist on calling Jesus our king. I’m afraid it is a word that has no real meaning and is a way we make Jesus irrelevant in our daily lives.

Then there is scripture, where it seems that Jesus himself was uneasy with this whole king idea. When the crowd with full bellies wanted to force Jesus to be their king, he literally ran away from them. “So he took refuge again, alone on a mountain, “ the CEB has it. The crowd made Jesus a refugee again.

Does our desire to put Jesus safely on his throne in fact make Christ flee from us? Maybe the more than half of our population who don’t find Jesus in our structures are finding a different kind of Christ out in their real world. Maybe instead of a “Christ the King” Sunday, we need Christ the Barista, or Christ the Nursing Assistant, or Christ the Classroom Para. And maybe there is room for a Royal Christ to remind us that we are not the ones in charge, and that the Eyes of Love are cast upon the entire Creation. I just don’t expect Jesus to stay put on any throne we make for him.

-Rev. Doyle Burbank-Williams
Lincoln New Visions Community

Prayer for Reflection

Christ on High, Christ Down Low, Christ of the Lonely Refuge, give us eyes to see you wherever love and compassion are needed. Help us remember that you are the one who knelt to serve, and show where we can serve, too. Amen.


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